BY JONATHAN ALLEN
NEW YORK Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:27pm EDT
(Reuters) – About 1,000 pedestrians are hospitalized each year in New York state after being hit by bicyclists, with more than half those collisions occurring in New York City, according to a study released on Monday.
The actual number could be even higher, as the study used numbers from hospitals and did not include injured pedestrians who visited doctors or did not seek treatment, said authors William Milczarski and Peter Tuckel, professors at New York’s Hunter College.
The study was done on behalf of the Stuart C. Gruskin Family Foundation, which advocates for pedestrian safety. Gruskin, a financial executive, was killed in 2009 after being hit by a bicyclist riding the wrong way on a New York street.
While there are many studies on injuries and deaths caused by motor vehicles, “there were not statistics being kept on bicycle-pedestrian incidents,” said his widow, Nancy Gruskin, in a telephone interview.
“We just really wanted to get a better idea of what’s going on our city streets.”
The authors wrote that the findings were higher than previous estimates, saying the study “supports the wide body of anecdotal data that pedestrians are at risk not only from motor vehicle drivers but also from cyclists.”
Bicycle lanes have been added recently to a number of New York City streets, prompting some criticism they cause crowding for vehicular traffic and make crossing the street dangerous for pedestrians.
New York City also plans to launch a bicycle-sharing program next year in which 10,000 bicycles will be available for rent at hundreds of sites.
The city’s Department of Transportation did not dispute the study’s findings but noted the number of pedestrians injured by bicycles had slightly decreased over the last four years.
“There are nearly 10,000 people who visit the hospital citywide each year after being struck by cars, so this is actually a pretty low number — one that’s been kept low because of our safety investments,” said Seth Solomonow, a DOT spokesman, in an e-mail.
The department said of the roughly 600 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the last four years, only three were hit by a bicycle.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)